Research communities 101 for small business owners

ShortPress

It’s hard out there for a small business owner. Fortunately, you don’t need to go it alone – there are a lot of other business owners who’re in your position or who’ve been in your position. The best part is if you decide to join a small business research community, you can carry them all around in your back pocket.

Research communities have a lot to offer both established businesses and those just starting out. ShortPress takes a look at five ways they can help you grow your business.

Contacts

The first and maybe most obvious advantage of joining a research community is that you’ll get to meet other people. Networking is important for any business, but it can be vital for small businesses that rely on personal connections. And the more people you know who’re in a situation similar to yours, the more likely they’ll be able to give you pointers, and the more opportunities you’ll have to collaborate with them.

The fast-paced nature of an online research community makes it easy to get quick insights.

Quick insights

The fast-paced nature of an online research community makes it easy to get quick insights. If you’re curious about something or are facing a problem, you can ask the community and expect a quick answer. It also gives you the option of conducting quick polls, which can be an easy way to get an answer. Speed is key here, especially in places such as the tech sector, where quick feedback on prototypes is essential. What you get is testers and advice that come from people in your community.

A number of numbers

Statistics can be invaluable for small businesses that want to know how well an idea works, or if something is worth their time. It’s one thing to read that an app such as Evernote will help you stay organised, but it’s another to have other business owners tell you the exact percentages of how it’s increased their productivity.

A quick question might evolve into a discussion that could take your business in a whole new direction.

Unexpected directions

One of the benefits of being able to call on a community rather than a business consultant or other professional is that a single person can only offer you a single point of view, while a community can offer many different points of view. And with many points of view comes brainstorming and ideas that come from other business owners’ experiences that you might never have thought of. A quick question might evolve into a discussion that could take your business in a whole new direction.

Money, money, money

It’s definitely worth noting that online research communities typically use a similar approach to Wikipedia – people join and share information for free because they want to help other people. People like being good at what they do, and they like sharing knowledge with other people. Research communities by their nature are filled with those sorts of people. What’s not to like about experts sharing their knowledge with one another for free?

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Want to join a community of likeminded small business owners? ShortPress and Kultivate have teamed up to support you through your endeavours. The best part? By signing up you could win a $100,000 ad campaign for your small business!

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